On Thorns I Lay - Aegean Sorrow review



Reviewer:
8.4

74 users:
8.23
Band: On Thorns I Lay
Album: Aegean Sorrow
Release date: March 2018


01. Intro
02. Aegean Sorrow
03. Erevos
04. Emerald Eyes
05. Olethros Part I
06. Olethros Part II
07. The Final Truth
08. A Sign Of Sadness
09. Skotos


On Thorns I Lay have returned with Aegean Sorrow, an impressive comeback album that may also be the best in their long career.

The band's latest release is a melodic and atmospheric death/doom gem, a return to roots, characterized by deep, subterranean growls and mournful, weeping guitars. Influenced by the Peaceville Three and bringing to mind October Tide, Novembers Doom and early Amorphis, the Greeks unleash a bittersweet explosion of riffs and leads that create the bleakest of soundscapes.

After a brief intro, the opening riff of the title track instantly captivates you, until Stefanos starts to growl in the chorus with overwhelming emotion over an absolutely heartbreaking guitar melody. This particular song and the album in general seems influenced by the refugee crisis and the tragic deaths of people who escaped the war and attempted to cross the Aegean Sea, only to have their hopes and lives sunk under the raging waves. "Erevos" continues in the same mood, plunging the listener deeper into the blackness and paying homage to the namesake primordial deity who, according to Hesiod's Theogony, came to life from the union of Chaos and Gaea to personify darkness and symbolise the silence and the depth of night.

The depressive, slow-paced gloom of the album's first half is suddenly interrupted by "Olethros I" which introduces some aggressive chugging. The word "olethros" in Greek means "massive catastrophe" and On Thorns I Lay probably needed an abrupt shift to justify the song's lyrical theme; however, it does feel a bit out of place in an otherwise downtempo record. Halfway into the song the band reverts to the territory explored earlier and the sound of the waves gives way to the Opeth-ian second part of "Olethros". An indisputable highlight is the pairing of Paul Kuhr's (of Novembers Doom) and Kintzoglou's vocals in the "The Final Truth", with its drowning atmosphere enhanced by the sorrowful violin. "Skotos" (translation: darkness) is a solemn piano outro that closes Aegean Sorrow in the heartfelt manner it deserves. The sea is finally calm again.

The album would not have the same effect without the mixing and mastering by Dan Swanö who has literally done wonders and the result is a hands-down perfect sound that is crystal clear, giving the necessary room for all musicians to shine. Kintzoglou's vocals sound deep and expressive, the rhythm section has the volume of a tsunami, the cymbals softly shine, the forlorn leads are tearfully sentimental and the piano is capable of tearing even the most apathetic heart apart.

Defying the often experienced dreariness and dullness of the genre, this record is replete with thick chords interwoven with romantic harmonies that result in waves of emotions flowing over and over. If you want to have your soul filled with oceans of Mediterranean melancholy, all you have to do is let yourself immerse in the Aegean Sorrow.

"From the depths of hope,
From the depths of sorrow,
Aegean sorrow…"


 



Written on 07.04.2018 by I was into this music when you were still in diapers.


Comments

Comments: 6   Visited by: 32 users
11.04.2018 - 23:31
MetalManic
Good timing for this as I was just listening to Moontower yesterday and was thinking of the impact Swano has had on the European metal scene. I look forward to hearing this band (for the first time!). I'm going in!
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MetalManic
www.MetalManic.com
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12.04.2018 - 00:12
MetalManic
Written by MetalManic on 11.04.2018 at 23:31

I'm going in!


Yeah. It's a nice one.
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MetalManic
www.MetalManic.com
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12.04.2018 - 00:33
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by MetalManic on 12.04.2018 at 00:12

Yeah. It's a nice one.

Try Orama if you liked this one. Production aside (it's 20+ years old), it is equally beautiful.
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on and on south of heaven

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12.04.2018 - 00:40
MetalManic
That's encouraging as I expect to dig into the back catalog. BTW, were you pulling for 'Need - Hegaiamas​: A Song For Freedom' for the prog metal album of the year?
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MetalManic
www.MetalManic.com
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12.04.2018 - 00:55
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by MetalManic on 12.04.2018 at 00:40

BTW, were you pulling for 'Need - Hegaiamas​: A Song For Freedom' for the prog metal album of the year?

Actually no. I know the band and heard very good things about the album, but I'm not a prog fan at all.
In fact it is the only category for which I didn't nominate anything at all and didn't vote either..
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on and on south of heaven

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12.04.2018 - 19:42
MetalManic
Quote:
Quote:

Actually no. I know the band and heard very good things about the album, but I'm not a prog fan at all.
In fact it is the only category for which I didn't nominate anything at all and didn't vote either..


I must say that it would be a shame to not at least give your fellow staff's pick 'Cormorant - Diaspora' a try. It's part of the extreme progressive metal category. Above all else, I get a big time Carcass (circa Heartwork), Agalloch (circa The Mantle and Ashes...) and Wayfarer/Enslaved. The guitar work in the album is simply excellent.

Again, thanks for this review \m/
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MetalManic
www.MetalManic.com
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